Usenet Problems – Resolving SABnzbd Errors

Have you ever experienced one of these SABnzbd errors?


Download failed – Out of your server’s retention?


Repair failed. not enough repair blocks (1798 short)

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. On the other hand, if you answered no, keep reading anyways. Since 2012, SABnzbd errors have been a fairly common occurrence for users of SAB. The reason why is a story for another day. But for now, we are going to discuss three things you can do to prevent these errors from occurring to you. First, let’s get a better understanding of what these messages mean.

Usually, these errors are displayed because a post or a piece of the post you’re trying to obtain is no longer available on your usenet provider’s server. Possible reasons are that the post is older than your server’s retention* capacity, or a part has been removed by the server’s administrator. For example, lets say I create a freeware application and post it on usenet for distribution. A couple months after posting, I no longer want my app on there so I reach out to the usenet provider and ask for them to take down my content. To comply with my request, the admin removes a few parts to render the content useless.

*retention is the amount of time posts are held by a usenet provider. UsenetServer has an industry leading 2075 (this number increases daily) day retention policy.

Here are three things you can do to prevent SABnzbd Errors.

Automation1. Automation

The number one way to avoid theses errors is to automate your Usenet setup. If you haven’t done so already, install Sick Beard, Couch Potato, and Headphones RIGHT NOW! An installation guide/additional information can be found here.

How will this help? The second something is made available on Usenet, it is immediately prone to being taken down. By automating your setup, you are guaranteed to grab those binaries as soon as they are made accessible.

Block2. Block Account

In addition to having a subscription with a usenet provider (ex: UsenetServer), we recommend grabbing a “Block” account. One option is – a Dutch based provider. For starters, grab the 50 GB or 100 GB Block Subscription.

Block accounts give you a set amount of data that you use at your own pace. If you have a block account and one of these errors occurs, SABnzbd will dip into your block to try to find the full post or missing piece. In most cases, the block provider will have the  piece and your download will finish successfully.

You might be thinking, “So if the block provider most likely has the part I need, why should I sign up for both a usenet provider and block account?”

Well, there are some major drawbacks with block accounts. First, is located in the Netherlands so do not expect your transfer rates to be screaming fast. Also, TweakNews only has 1100 days of retention vs. the 2075 offered by UsenetServer.

Configuration3. SABnzbd Configuration

SABnzbd has a couple of settings that can inhibit these errors.

Head to the SABnzbd configuration and select the Switches tab. Find the queue section and tick off the following settings:


These are pretty self explanatory… Abort jobs that cannot be completed will cancel downloads when it becomes apparent that the transfer will not fiish successfully.And check before download will try to predict if the transfer will be successful before commencing. Just keep in mind that this feature is pretty slow. Use them for a couple days and see what kind of results you get.

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